Unsolved Murders

Sheila Martin

Age: 11

Sex: female

Date: 8 Jul 1946

Place: Stony Field Wood, Fawkham Green, Dartford, Kent

Source: www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Sheila Martin was found dead at Fawkham Green, Dartford, Kent on 7 July 1946.

Her body was found half-buried under nettles in a clearing in Stony Field Wood. She had been strangled with her own white hair ribbon. The wood was also known as Sun Hill Wood. She was found by a searcher about 40 or 50 yards from the road.

The pathologist said that she had been assaulted and strangled sometime between 5pm and 6pm.

She was last seen on a swing behind her home at about 4.30pm on the Sunday 7 July 1946. She was reported missing later on the Sunday night and was found about eight hours later, just after midnight, after teams of villagers went out looking for her. The wood where she was found overlooked her home by the village green, about half-a-mile away.

At the time there had been about 8,000 people watching motor-cycle speedway racing at Brand's Hatch about half a mile away. It was said that she had been murdered while the racing was in progress.

The police said that they were interested in speaking to a youth of about 16 who was seen wearing a brown sports jacket, an open-necked shirt and grey flannel trousers and wearing a red rose in his buttonhole. He was seen near the village school in Fawkham Green on the Sunday.

The police said that they interviewed every man, woman and child within a three-mile radius.

The coroner said that she had been the victim of a 'diabolical assault'.

The pathologist said that her death was due to strangulation and that she had been interfered with.

At the inquest, Sheila Martin's father nearly broke down in tears as he detailed the last time he spoke to her. He said, 'She was in the habit of going out in the vicinity with the 13-year-old daughter of a neighbour. I got concerned about Sheila about 8pm when I saw the other girl alone'. It was later heard that Sheila Martin and the 13-year-old girl had not been together that afternoon.

Sheila Martin's father said that Sheila Martin was of a nervous disposition and rather shy with strangers.

The inquest returned a verdict of 'Murder by some person or persons unknown'.

*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.

see National Archives MEPO 3/2732 - Closed until 2056

see Daily Herald - Tuesday 09 July 1946

see Northern Whig - Tuesday 09 July 1946

see Belfast Telegraph - Thursday 05 September 1946

see Western Daily Press - Friday 09 August 1946

see Hull Daily Mail - Thursday 05 September 1946

see Dundee Evening Telegraph - Wednesday 10 July 1946

see Liverpool Echo - Thursday 05 September 1946

see Coventry Evening Telegraph - Thursday 05 September 1946